By now you realize I like Connie Crawford patterns. But I am bothered by the lack of sleeveless versions she offers. I assume most plus sized customers, hated their upper arms so much that Connie eliminates sleeveless styles. She will sometimes include a sleeveless view but there is no change to the pattern pieces i.e. the same armscye is used for the sleeveless and sleeved versions. For me, that just doesn’t work. I mean I’ve tried leaving off the sleeve. My underwear shows. Even worse, I notice men trying to peek through my armscye. That’s a bit creepy to me. But I want both knit and woven sleeveless tops. I didn’t want to make muslins. After working so hard on the Ascona (without success), I really needed an easy project. So I took the bodice from my already fit 5215
copied it and then traced the armscye from the Madagascar tank. Why not just use the Madagascar tank? I don’t think a sleeveless top and a tank are exactly the same. I think there is enough difference between the two that I want a separate pattern for sleeveless knit tops but the Madagascar was the only sleeveless armscye I had that fit.
My fabric is a “leisure/athletic” material from Fabricmart. I purchased a single yard with great hesitation. Loved the prints but couldn’t help but wonder if I would purchase such an animal (leisure/athletic) if I saw it in a fabric store. The 100% polyester fiber content didn’t reassure me. I like polyester but I find the qualities of polyester range from wonderful to trash-send-directly-to-h3ll. I won’t get on my soap box but I do wish the industry would develop accurate descriptions. Was this swim wear? In which case, why not call it swim wear? Was it that nasty athletic mesh without holes? Is this a light weight slinky? I just didn’t know what I would be getting. The one yard purchase was a good idea. It has set in my stash for about a year. It drapes like ITY. It is a lightweight, opaque, fine-knit that feels a bit plasticky. It resisted my cutting wheel in several places. Which means, I needed to cut twice. Once with the rotary cutter and a second time clipping with my very sharp scissors. No construction problems at either the serger or sewing machine. I chose size 12 ELX for the serger needles and size 10 ball point for the sewing machine. And yes, I chose to work with this fabric because I wasn’t sure how my copied armscye was going to work. If that went bad, tossing the fabric wouldn’t be regretted.
After cutting the front and back, I added a recycled lace applique to the center front. It’s a very pretty piece of lace I kept when the original blouse became worn. I didn’t want to do much to this garment but I did want a pretty result, just in case it was wearable. There’s no exact procedure to utilize recycled pieces like this. I added Steam-A-Seam on the back of the lace. Then eye-balling a place on center front, I fused into place. Using my french curve, I drew a line between shoulder and the lace’s edge. Because Peggy Sagers is making me an expert with the french curve, I noted the numbers, then flipped my ruler and created the same curve on the other side. I stitched the lace in place with a narrow (1mm) long (5mm) zig zag. Then trimmed the excess fabric from the neckline and behind my lace. I finished the neckline with 5/8″ FOE because I need more practice with applying FOE. Now, on a sleeveless top that may be a wadder, seemed like a good time to practice. Then I basted the side seams, using water-soluble thread, and tried on my top.
Oddly, the back is a bit too small across the hip. Odd because the previous fabric a rayon/cotton knit fit perfectly but this 100% polyester with 100% stretch is too tight?? I was able to add a little ease by stitching the side seams at 1/4″ and adding the curved hem. I decided upon a high low as well as curve. This time I carried it out with deliberation. I trimmed 1.5″ from the front at the hem. Curved the side. Copied the curve to the back and then carefully marked the sides so that the hems would curve the same amount. I think the final effect is really good and it didn’t take that much longer. The trick, was deciding to make a high/low hem before final stitching. I finished the hems with the same FOE. Hey, I needed the practice.
My neckline however was way, way too tight. Since the wearability was still questionable, I marked a neckline 2.5″ lower in front and .5″ lower in back. I trimmed the excess and finished with FOE. That did trim away more of my lace. But I think the final neckline is much nicer than the first.
The copied armscye almost worked. It hits my shoulder at my preferred distance but was an inch too low at the underarm. My underwear was still in danger of being exposed. I opted to add armscye bindings cut from white tricot. I’m not wild about the proportions from an esthetic view-point, but they do keep the underwear under-cover.
To my surprise, I have a wearable garment! I altered my pattern raising the armscye 1″. I need to make this again and soon. I mean just to be sure the pattern is now correct.